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Islam neither indigenous nor sole belief system of Uygurs: white paper

Xinhua | Updated: 2019-07-21 10:54
Tourists visit the Grape Valley scenic area in Turpan, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, July 20, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING - Islam is neither an indigenous nor the sole belief system of the Uygur people, a white paper said Sunday.

The introduction of Islam into Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in northwest China was related to the emergence of the Arab Empire and the eastward expansion of Islam, said "Historical Matters Concerning Xinjiang" released by China's State Council Information Office.

"The Uighur conversion to Islam was not a voluntary choice made by the common people, but a result of religious wars and imposition by the ruling class, though this fact does not undermine our respect for the Muslims' right to their beliefs," the white paper said.

According to the document, Buddhism was once the predominant religion practiced by the nobility and the common people in the region. Today in Xinjiang, a significant number of people do not follow any religion, and many Uygurs follow religions other than Islam.

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